By Kris Hooks
Black Lives Matter Sacramento is criticizing the police department for its handling of a shooting in Oak Park last weekend that put two young men in the hospital.
Tanya Faison, founder of BLM Sacramento, accused Sacramento police officers of “criminalizing” the two men — ages 18 and 19 — by stripping them down to their underwear and turning them side-to-side while they were lying on the ground with gunshot wounds.
“Everybody knows that when somebody has an open wound, then you don’t move their bodies around too much because they could bleed out,” Faison said at a press conference in front of the Sacramento Fire Department in Oak Park on Thursday. “Or there are injuries that we don’t know what they are.”
Sgt. Sabrina Briggs, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department, said the officers were following protocol by moving the men around in order to perform “a sweep of the victim’s body to locate any other injuries.”
Briggs said the two men were shot Saturday evening near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway: one in the shoulder, the other in the rear end. Both are expected to survive.
Police are still investigating the shooting, Briggs said, and have not released any information on the shooter.
Graphic cell phone video, which has since been deleted from Facebook, showed officers removing the two victims’ shirts and pants and turning one of them over several times as bystanders screamed for medical help to come faster.
Family of one of the men said in a statement delivered by Faison that police “tossed [him] around as if he was already lifeless.”
“We are concerned about the length of time that he was on the ground before help came,” the family said in a statement. “The way in which they handled his body, it just felt that there was no sense of urgency.”
Brenda Thomas-Rhodes, who said she was at the scene minutes after the shooting, called into question how long it took for an ambulance to arrive and transport the men to the hospital.
She said she was there for more that 15 minutes before “the fire department came, but still no ambulance. Then maybe three or four minutes later, here comes an ambulance.”
Initially, only one ambulance came to the scene, she said.
Briggs said it took only five minutes for fire department emergency EMTs to get to the scene.
A CapRadio review of dispatch audio revealed that it took paramedics more than 10 minutes to arrive after officers first requested medical assistance.
Faison said that if officers were following protocol, then that protocol should change. She said officers should be there to keep the area safe until an ambulance arrives, “not touch the body, not move them around, not agitate.”
“They need to care more about us no matter what they think of us,” Faison said.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.